As a competitive runner, people usually assume that I'm some sort of superhuman fitness and nutrition guru who dedicates her entire day to becoming a healthier person. While eating like an athlete certainly takes work (I regularly fight urges to binge on some very sugary snacks, in case you're wondering), I'd be lying if I said that intense workouts and a rigid diet are my entire life. I think I've managed to find a relatively simple path toward a healthier lifestyle - one that doesn't require sweating profusely in the gym five times per day or eating chalky nutritional supplements on a daily basis.
With summer quickly approaching, several of my friends have asked me for some guidance about slimming down (swimsuit weather is almost here!) and incorporating more nutritious foods into their diets. And let me tell you - they were all stunned at the incredibly easy and straightforward advice I gave them about how I maintain a healthy and happy lifestyle every day. Here are some of my not-so-secret tips for success.
While many people feel like they need to run or jog several miles a day for an effective cardio workout, I've found that hiking and mountain biking are also enjoyable alternatives that fit nicely into my daily routine. On beautiful sunny days, it’s hard to make myself return indoors even after finishing a workout, so I’ll hike some local trails if I feel that more vitamin D and exercise are necessary. Similarly, I love exploring the beautiful back roads of Vermont on the weekends by bike. As long as you get outside and start moving, there's no reason you need to make a cardio workout feel like torture.
To be honest, I've tried cutting snacks and desserts out of my life and it just hasn't worked. Even if I manage to go a day or two without indulging, I typically find myself gravitating towards the junk food isle looking for sugary sweets. Once I came to terms with this inevitable reality, I learned to adjust my eating habits so that my snacks benefit my diet. I try to keep low-fat cheeses in the fridge along with an assortment of fruits.
However, my secret weapon to nutritional success is my Keurig® brewer. While it's great for brewing a hot cup of coffee in the morning, I primarily use it to enjoy a variety of my favorite hot tea flavors, such as Mandarin Orange Spice, India Spice Chai, Green Tea, Mint Medley and English Breakfast. Not only are these flavors rich in antioxidants, but they're also incredibly convenient to make and taste great - all it takes is the push of a button.
I will admit – when I cross the finish line after a hard race, I often opt for a thick vanilla milkshake rather than tea. Reward yourself! A healthy lifestyle change doesn’t have to mean “die” with a t. So, there you have it. It doesn't take much to lead a healthier lifestyle - all you need to do is make time to get outside and incorporate nutritional snacks into your everyday life in order to get off on the right foot.